Emma Bunton’s ‘No-White’ Diet
New Magazine published that Emma Bunton was rumoured to have followed a no-white diet to lose her baby weight.
The eating plan, which originated in the US involves cutting out – you guessed it – white foods. But surely a colour-based diet that would effectively banish nutrient-rich foods such as milk, egg whites and lean white meat couldn’t be healthy?
On closer investigation, the no-white tag is a little misleading. The white foods in question are refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, pasta and white rice), which are nutritionally poor. Milk, and milk-based products such as cheese and yoghurt, which help keep bones healthy, are allowed. So are eggs and lean meat.
It is believed that Emma adopted the plan to help her lose her baby weight in time for the Spice Girl’s World Tour. And weight loss isn’t the only benefit of a no-white diet.
Oprah Winfrey, found that after years of yo-yo dieting, cutting out white food and exercising regularly helped improve her health and waistline.
The star eliminated “all the white foods that immediately convert to sugar in the body” and found that as well as giving her more energy and improving her sleep patterns, the regime helped her shed 33lbs. “I cut out white rice, white pasta and white breads”, she said. “I lost 10lbs almost immediately”.
Why the no-white diet works
Because the no-white diet recommends that you eat only low-GI foods, energy is released much more slowly into the body – which means that your blood-sugar levels are kept stable. After even a short period of time on a low-GI eating plan such as the no-white diet, you should find that you feel satisfied for longer, so less tempted to snack or graze on fattening “White foods” between meals.
Another benefit of the no-white diet is the variety of new, healthy foods you’re likely to try while on the plan. If you’re not filling up on bread, biscuits and salt-packed snacks, you’re far more likely to munch away on colourful fruit and vegetables instead, which are much better for you.
Why cut out white foods?
By “white foods”, nutritionists generally mean carbohydrates or starchy foods. These refined foods, such as white bread and pasta, have a high GI (glycaemic index), meaning they release energy quickly into the blood. This provides a short-term energy boost, which doesn’t last long and is usually followed by a “slump”. This in turn increases your likelihood to crave and reach for another high-GI snack.
A diet heavy in high-GI foods is also believed to cause insulin deficiency, which can in time increase the risk of diabetes. Even in the short term, too many refined foods such as cakes, biscuits and sweets causes weight gain, especially around the abdomen, which carries serious health implications.
“The most important things to eliminate are sugary foods, then white flour, white pasta and white rice”, says Paul Array, author of No White Diet. “The sugar and carbs in white foods are the greatest problem and contribute to obesity”.
It’s not all bad news, though. Unlike the controversial Atkins diet, which cuts out all carbs, the no-white diet allows lover-GI alternatives, such as whole-wheat bread, pasta and brown rice. And eating vegetables (with the exception of potatoes which have a high GI) is encouraged, so a high-fibre diet is still achievable. “It’s not like the Atkins, which in my opinion is unhealthy”, says Array. “This is about great-tasting food that keeps the weight off”.
Your no-white eating plan
Follow our no-white meal guide or feel free to pick any combination of foods from the “what you can eat” list…
Scrambled eggs or bacon, served with grilled mushrooms and wholemeal toast.
Poached egg, served on a bed of steamed spinach, with wholemeal toast.
Wholemeal toast served with sugar-free peanut butter or whole-grain cereal (eg All-Bran) with milk.
Grilled salmon steak with hollandaise sauce, lettuce and roast pepper salad.
Mushroom omelette with steamed asparagus spears.
Grilled cheese on wholemeal toast, with grilled mushrooms.
Roast chicken breast with brown rice and steamed broccoli florets.
Tuna steak served with green beans, or a fennel salad.
Wholemeal pasta with prawns or smoked salmon in a cream sauce.
What you can eat…
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, milk and nuts.
Low-GI vegetables including: lettuce, mushrooms, peppers, cucumber, endive, olives, celery, radishes, artichoke, Brussels sprouts,
Medium-GI vegetables (no more than one portion a day): asparagus, green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, aubergine, tomato, onion, leeks, spinach, squash, pumpkin, avocado, bean sprouts, broccoli, peas.
What you can’t eat…
Refined grains (such as white couscous)
Sugar (including sweets and chocolate bars)
Flour-based foods – cakes and biscuits
Potatoes (including crisps and chips)
Credit: New Magazine